Retired Navy Captain Timika Lindsay and her daughter Elise Lindsay are the first African-American mother and daughter to graduate from the United States Naval Academy in the academy’s 177-year history.
Timika spent 30 years working at the academy and, before retiring in 2021, was one of the highest-ranking African American female officers in the Navy.
Elise was drawn to the academy after visiting her mother at the institution’s last duty location, where she worked as the chief diversity officer. Elise was a student at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Maryland at the time, and she was inspired to enroll in the school by her exposure to midshipman life and living on the yard. Additionally, she was taken to Japan by her mother in 2015, where she witnessed ships and employees reporting for duty while wearing uniforms.
Elise and her mother made history on Friday when they received their diplomas from the U.S. Naval Academy, becoming the first mother and daughter of African-American descent to do so. But she faced difficulties in the academy because she was a captain’s daughter. “There are times when you wish you were midshipman Lindsay rather than the daughter of Captain Lindsay. That was incredibly difficult, Elise said.
She claimed that she was able to establish a name for herself as a result of the connections she made with mentors and mentees. Elise will be stationed on the USS America when she returns to Japan.
“If you would’ve asked me if this was a possibility seven years ago, I would’ve said no way in the world,” Timika said. Her son, Eric Jr., will also graduate from the academy in 2025.